Emergency preparedness at YVR
The safety and security of YVR’s passengers and some 23,000 employees is the Airport Authority’s primary responsibility – during both regular operations and in times of crisis.
The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in early March has prompted many people and businesses on the West Coast of Canada to evaluate their own emergency plans and preparations in the face of a potential natural disaster.
YVR’s emergency management plan focuses on three principles – prevent, prepare and practice – and is designed to respond to a number of emergencies, including potential earthquakes and floods.
Because every natural disaster brings its own unique set of circumstances, it is difficult to speculate on the impact of an earthquake to YVR’s operations. However, the Airport Authority’scomprehensiveemergency management plan would allow YVR to carry out a unified response with other emergency management agencies and care for passengers and employees on Sea Island.
YVR’s buildings, bridges and infrastructure are seismically sound; many facilities are new and those built before 1992 have been upgraded to exceed current seismic codes. In fact, YVR’s Control Tower is built to remain independently functional after a significant earthquake to serve as a recovery centre to support the community at large. YVR’s dyke system has also been upgraded over the past 15 years and could withstand significant tides. Emergency supply cabinets are found throughout the terminal facilities, and a comprehensive terminal evacuation plan further ensures the safety of YVR passengers and employees.
The Airport Authority also works closely with regional emergency responders stationed at or near Sea Island, including Richmond Fire-Rescue and the Canadian Coast Guard. These relationships, fostered through ongoing communication and regular emergency exercises, would help ensure a coordinated response. In the event of a major natural disaster, YVR would likely operate as a hub for incoming aid and supplies to support the community beyond Sea Island.
The Airport Authority’s emergency management plan is assessed and refined on an ongoing basis to incorporate knowledge gained through real-life and simulated emergency situations, and the latest developments in airport safety and emergency. And because a plan is only as good as its execution, practicing with live scenario training, emergency simulations and table-top exercises is essential to ensuring the continued safety of YVR’s passengers and employees.